Queens is located furthest east of all of the New York City boroughs. In terms of land mass, Queens is the largest of all of the boroughs, but is second behind Brooklyn in terms of raw population. Before the turn of the century, Queens was actually originally a collection of small towns which were all located in Queens County. In 1898, the various cities in what is now known as New York came together to vote for consolidation. From this point forward, all of the cities in Queens came together and formed what is now known as the borough and county of Queens.
Queens was first officially formed in the late seventeenth century, and was one of the first twelve counties that originally comprised New York State. The name, Queens, refers to the reigning Queen of England during the time, Queen Catherine, who presided over Ireland, Scotland, and England. Nassau County was originally a part of Queens County, but the area now known as Nassau split off from Queens when New York City consolidated.
Queens is located on Long Island, just to the northeast of Brooklyn, which lies on the southwestern portion of the Island. To the Northeast of Queens is Nassau county.
Queens Demographics and Economy
The thing that really sets Queens apart from any other place on planet earth is its tremendous diversity. There are over two million people that live in Queens which have heritages from over one hundred countries around the globe. These immigrants and native-born Americans speak more than 130 unique languages. Every neighborhood in Queens has its own unique character, based upon the nationalities and cultures that live within it.
If Queens were its own city, it would be the fourth largest city in the United States. Only Brooklyn, L.A., and Chicago would be larger. The economy of Queens represents its immense size as well. Unlike Brooklyn, which relies mostly on the surrounding boroughs for employment, Queens has a huge economy all on its own. One of the central features of the Queens economy is its tremendous transportation industry, buoyed by two major New York City Airports.
Queens also has a very high percentage of small businesses, owing to the great diversity of the residents that live in the area. There are an almost unimaginable number of restaurants, cafes, shops, and bodegas which cater to the needs of pretty much each and every ethnic and cultural group that lives in the borough.
Living in Queens
Queens also has a large variety of residential options, and each neighborhood and culture has taken to its own enclaves within the borough. In the areas of Queens closest to Manhattan, the residential housing comes mostly in the form of tall and sprawling apartment buildings. High rise apartments are the prominent form of housing in Ridgewood, Long Island City, and Astoria, for example.
As one travels further along Long Island toward Nassau County, however, the neighborhoods take on a much more suburban character, and these neighborhoods tend to have as much in common with neighboring Nassau County than they do with Manhattan and Brooklyn. More suburban neighborhoods include Bayside, Little Neck, and Douglaston.
As mentioned earlier, Queens is home to two out of the three international airports that operate in New York City’s airspace, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International. The third airport which serves New York City is located in New Jersey, across the river from Staten Island. The two Queens Airports are some of the most highly utilized on earth, which leads the sky above Queens to be the busiest airspace in the United States.
Points of Interest in Queens
Flushing Meadows – The New York Mets play at this large and beautiful ballpark, and although the Yankees may get more respect, the Mets have a large contingent of fans in New York City, especially in Queens and Brooklyn. The Grand Slam Tennis Tournament, the US Open, is also played at Flushing Meadows.
Queens Museum of Art – This Museum has one of the coolest displays in the entire city. Inside the museum, there is a full scale model of the entirety of New York City, all five boroughs, which covers over 9,000 square feet. The museum heavily caters to an international audience, providing a number of art exhibits from cultures all across Queens and the Globe.
Museum of the Moving Image – This museum is dedicated to everything related to the art of the moving image. This applies not only to film, but to television and video games, along with any other form of artistic and popular expression associated with moving pictures.